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Piraten in Batavia, or how other parks are eating Disney's lunch

"El Magnifico"

I WANT a Tangerine and Lemon movie.
Premium Member
Disney has been surpassed long ago. It's the reliance on the brand recognition of both Disney and the various IP's that sustains them. Having 25,000+ acres smack dab in the middle of the state of Florida helps.

I say this as an AP of both parks. I still love Disney. But I'm starting to warm up to Uni more and more each year. Uni has been eating Disney's lunch for years on rides. MIB far surpasses Toy Story Mania. They are also miles ahead in the "thrill ride" category. Their hotels offer better accommodations at a more reasonable (even if they are still overpriced) rate. The immersive quality of Potter surpasses anything Disney has done in a long time. ET (a 20 year old ride) is still better than Pan. The only thing I can give the nod to Disney in - is the true dark ride category.

But Uni along with SeaWorld and all other attractions in the area have one basic problem - space. Something Disney has in abundance. So they can build out entertainment districts, have places like a FW, and numerous resorts.

The one thing Disney always had that was head and shoulders above everybody else was Service and Entertainment. Somewhere they forgot about CM interaction with the guest. Things like the World Showcase Players, The CMs at Adventurers Club, people like Yeeha Bob - It was an area where Disney was pretty much untouchable. But that was a long time ago. Now it's "Let's see what we can charge people and incur the lowest amount of cost on - in order to give people a satisfactory experience". They should actually change their mission statement to this.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
It was actually 2 years and 2 months for them to rebuild the attraction. Unbelievable. As you say Disney would never do that.

Not only that they rebuilt and re-opened the neighbouring Scandinavia area that was burnt to the ground in 13 months and even built a brand new family dark ride in the basement of Scandinavia as an unannounced surprise within 18 months!
Not to mention that they were also building a water park during this time.
 

Naplesgolfer

Well-Known Member
Disney has been surpassed long ago. It's the reliance on the brand recognition of both Disney and the various IP's that sustains them. Having 25,000+ acres smack dab in the middle of the state of Florida helps.

I say this as an AP of both parks. I still love Disney. But I'm starting to warm up to Uni more and more each year. Uni has been eating Disney's lunch for years on rides. MIB far surpasses Toy Story Mania. They are also miles ahead in the "thrill ride" category. Their hotels offer better accommodations at a more reasonable (even if they are still overpriced) rate. The immersive quality of Potter surpasses anything Disney has done in a long time. ET (a 20 year old ride) is still better than Pan. The only thing I can give the nod to Disney in - is the true dark ride category.

But Uni along with SeaWorld and all other attractions in the area have one basic problem - space. Something Disney has in abundance. So they can build out entertainment districts, have places like a FW, and numerous resorts.

The one thing Disney always had that was head and shoulders above everybody else was Service and Entertainment. Somewhere they forgot about CM interaction with the guest. Things like the World Showcase Players, The CMs at Adventurers Club, people like Yeeha Bob - It was an area where Disney was pretty much untouchable. But that was a long time ago. Now it's "Let's see what we can charge people and incur the lowest amount of cost on - in order to give people a satisfactory experience". They should actually change their mission statement to this.
Pure hubris to ignore your real competitive advantages and know how ,all the while acting as if you have no competition. Further they have convinced themselves the customer is locked in. I don't know when it will turn on them, but it they continue on this path unabated it will bite them.

What worries me is the current corporate mind set would lead them to believe the parks are no longer viable after running them into the ground themselves! Truly myopic on a epic scale.
 
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Naplesgolfer

Well-Known Member
Disney won’t start putting more effort into better things until people stop spending all that money at the parks & going elsewhere. With shareholders, it’s all about ROI.
I agree. But that is a reactive way to run a business not the proactive forward thinking way that built the company. Disney can make top of segment profit and still lead in service and experience. Keep the pricing and price increases but match the price with some balance on Guest experience, maintenance and service. The profits would be even higher in the medium term. If they keep burning the candle at both ends and the middle it erodes the business. They just need balance. The board of directors is asleep at the switch as far as parks goes.
 

DVCscott

Member
I agree we need more like this at Disney, and less of the IP overload we have gotten lately. But I wonder if it is really Disney fault for the flooding of IP in our faces, or the general public? If you watch enough of these videos like Piraten In Batavia and other cool themed rides with no IP attach to story, you will notice in comments people saying things like WHAT IS THIS?? I am confused!!! Who are these pirates supposed to be?????
It is like they have meltdown if no IP to recognize. Not saying all of general public is like this. We theme park fans certainly appreciate non-IP themed rides. But there are many in general public who cannot handle or give a chance to a ride or show with no recognizable IP they are familiar with.
At my local Busch Gardens we used to have a very well themed ride called Curse of Dark Castle. It was a great themed ride much like Spiderman at Island of Adventure Florida.
But it receive many complain from people who didn't understand who characters were, what the story was, all because no IP tied in to it. It was heartbreaking when ride closed down. Very good quality lost.
 

Chicken Guy

Well-Known Member
I agree we need more like this at Disney, and less of the IP overload we have gotten lately. But I wonder if it is really Disney fault for the flooding of IP in our faces, or the general public? If you watch enough of these videos like Piraten In Batavia and other cool themed rides with no IP attach to story, you will notice in comments people saying things like WHAT IS THIS?? I am confused!!! Who are these pirates supposed to be?????
It is like they have meltdown if no IP to recognize. Not saying all of general public is like this. We theme park fans certainly appreciate non-IP themed rides. But there are many in general public who cannot handle or give a chance to a ride or show with no recognizable IP they are familiar with.
At my local Busch Gardens we used to have a very well themed ride called Curse of Dark Castle. It was a great themed ride much like Spiderman at Island of Adventure Florida.
But it receive many complain from people who didn't understand who characters were, what the story was, all because no IP tied in to it. It was heartbreaking when ride closed down. Very good quality lost.
You have a point in that this is a part of the thinking which inspires Disney’s current strategy. From a business standpoint, it is quite sound; as many of us know, though, it’s not all about business. And it is unfortunate that the general public is too entangled in its media tunnel vision to appreciate original and unbranded material. Although I do think that if an attraction is too broad in theme, it could appear generic. I do wonder if a ride like pirates were to be made today if guests would see it as “just a strange pirate ride”. Does it only get its praise because there was nothing like it before it was made? Once again, culture and tastes have changed.
 

Magenta Panther

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I agree we need more like this at Disney, and less of the IP overload we have gotten lately. But I wonder if it is really Disney fault for the flooding of IP in our faces, or the general public? If you watch enough of these videos like Piraten In Batavia and other cool themed rides with no IP attach to story, you will notice in comments people saying things like WHAT IS THIS?? I am confused!!! Who are these pirates supposed to be?????
It is like they have meltdown if no IP to recognize. Not saying all of general public is like this. We theme park fans certainly appreciate non-IP themed rides. But there are many in general public who cannot handle or give a chance to a ride or show with no recognizable IP they are familiar with.
At my local Busch Gardens we used to have a very well themed ride called Curse of Dark Castle. It was a great themed ride much like Spiderman at Island of Adventure Florida.
But it receive many complain from people who didn't understand who characters were, what the story was, all because no IP tied in to it. It was heartbreaking when ride closed down. Very good quality lost.

I wonder if people criticized the Haunted Mansion when it first opened because Mickey Mouse wasn't in it?

Anyway, my post wasn't about whether or not Disney should build rides with IP in them. My post was about Disney building subpar, cheap, lazy, poorly-maintained rides whether IP is in them or not. Which is what it is doing, while parks outside the U.S. are kicking its in terms of imagination, engineering, economic outlay, and quality. Just saying.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I agree we need more like this at Disney, and less of the IP overload we have gotten lately. But I wonder if it is really Disney fault for the flooding of IP in our faces, or the general public? If you watch enough of these videos like Piraten In Batavia and other cool themed rides with no IP attach to story, you will notice in comments people saying things like WHAT IS THIS?? I am confused!!! Who are these pirates supposed to be?????
It is like they have meltdown if no IP to recognize. Not saying all of general public is like this. We theme park fans certainly appreciate non-IP themed rides. But there are many in general public who cannot handle or give a chance to a ride or show with no recognizable IP they are familiar with.
At my local Busch Gardens we used to have a very well themed ride called Curse of Dark Castle. It was a great themed ride much like Spiderman at Island of Adventure Florida.
But it receive many complain from people who didn't understand who characters were, what the story was, all because no IP tied in to it. It was heartbreaking when ride closed down. Very good quality lost.
The directive to only focus on franchises at Disney came concurrent with the successful opening of the Non-Descript Coaster Themed Like India or Whatever, which remains a better return on investment than most of the US Disney projects since it’s opening.

Curse of DarKastle was generally considered a poor attraction and not because it lacked known characters.
 
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Fable McCloud

Well-Known Member
I actually look at Efteling as another comparison. They have rides like Symbolica (cool trackless), Dreamflight (dark ride), and some other rides that are interesting. Symbolica cost around $40M (per Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge) and is pretty much as impressive to me as MMRR. If other parks can build these rides without spending hundreds of millions, why can't Disney?

Efteling is gorgeous! I think it's Disney quality for sure.
 

cdatkins

Active Member
IMHO Disney has yet to recover from the Universal launch of the Wizarding World. WW is on par or better than anything Disney had in place at that time or, frankly, since. As a Disney fan boy, it has pained me to see Disney launch a Star Wars and Marvel themed land with nothing like the reaction that WW received and continues to receive. And WW deserves every bit of that reaction.

Again IMHO one mistake that Disney is making right now is launching new lands based on IP that is not yet settled in the mind of its audience. Example 1: Cars Land. A wonderful wonderful place but how big is the market for the Cars IP at this point? And Disney made the decision to create the land before Cars 2 had even been released - which didn't go over super well with audiences, and Cars 3 barely scratched a dent (pun intended) in the minds of audiences. This is supposed to support an entire land? Example 2: basing Galaxy's Edge exclusively on the Disney trilogy. Again a decision made before the entire trilogy was done and they could assess its reception. A gamble on the reception of the Disney trilogy in the mind of audiences, and turning your back on Star Wars content that you knew had a significant mindshare with audiences.

Disney also seems very hesitant to get into the "thrill ride" business. This is probably why Marvel land is not really making a big splash. Universal is owning this market - just look at what they are now doing with the launch of Velocicoaster. Universal is comfortable being a destination, really high class version of the Kings Island or Six Flags park you already have 1-2 hours from your house, with a lot of IP thrown in that those parks probably don't have. But to do that you need thrill rides. And Disney seems hesitant to go there at Universal's scale or pace.
 

Chicken Guy

Well-Known Member
IMHO Disney has yet to recover from the Universal launch of the Wizarding World. WW is on par or better than anything Disney had in place at that time or, frankly, since. As a Disney fan boy, it has pained me to see Disney launch a Star Wars and Marvel themed land with nothing like the reaction that WW received and continues to receive. And WW deserves every bit of that reaction.

Again IMHO one mistake that Disney is making right now is launching new lands based on IP that is not yet settled in the mind of its audience. Example 1: Cars Land. A wonderful wonderful place but how big is the market for the Cars IP at this point? And Disney made the decision to create the land before Cars 2 had even been released - which didn't go over super well with audiences, and Cars 3 barely scratched a dent (pun intended) in the minds of audiences. This is supposed to support an entire land? Example 2: basing Galaxy's Edge exclusively on the Disney trilogy. Again a decision made before the entire trilogy was done and they could assess its reception. A gamble on the reception of the Disney trilogy in the mind of audiences, and turning your back on Star Wars content that you knew had a significant mindshare with audiences.

Disney also seems very hesitant to get into the "thrill ride" business. This is probably why Marvel land is not really making a big splash. Universal is owning this market - just look at what they are now doing with the launch of Velocicoaster. Universal is comfortable being a destination, really high class version of the Kings Island or Six Flags park you already have 1-2 hours from your house, with a lot of IP thrown in that those parks probably don't have. But to do that you need thrill rides. And Disney seems hesitant to go there at Universal's scale or pace.
I think one thing Eisner doesn't get enough credit for is his IP strategy, at least as it was until his last few years. He hardly ever devoted big budget rides or lands to IP-related content, and I must imagine it is because he knew it would most likely quickly become outdated. For example: The Little Mermaid was a hit, and so was Beauty and the Beast. What does Eisner do with them? They get a stage show each at MGM and maybe some parade floats. The Lion King yielded unprecedented success. Time to build a Lion King Land? No! Stage show in Fantasyland, and an environmental film at Epcot. These attractions, despite the fact that some of them long overstayed their welcome, are relatively cheap to produce and cheap to replace. Low barriers to replacement meant that the company could both capitalize on a movie's success and, if the movie's popularity faded, quickly replace the attraction with a more current IP show. Meanwhile, the big development bucks went towards New Tomorrowland, Sunset Boulevard, Epcot Future World revamps (which had their own limiting factors of their own: celebrity cameos) and Animal Kingdom, not to mention the 1990's resort boom. Around 1998ish is when we first start seeing Eisner play around with the idea of attractions based off of new IP with Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin and It's Tough to be a Bug.
I would also like to point out that when replacing Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Eisner could have picked any of the immensely popular movies his company had created over the past decade as a theme, and that attraction would probably still be popular today; however, he chose Winnie the Pooh, whose movie was produced 20 years prior, because Pooh had proven his long-standing popularity and cultural significance as a Disney character.
 

Magenta Panther

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Tokyo Disneyland's new BatB ride is very elaborate and lavish from a technical and scale point of view, but still got a lot of deserved criticism.

It's not an issue of budget or technology anymore. WDI today has largely forgotten good ride design and understanding the medium.

The only flaw I can see with the BatB ride is that the castle invasion scene is surprisingly short and, well, lame. No drama. The designers should have least shown the moment Gaston shot the Beast. A rare slip from the otherwise-excellent Oriental Land Company.
 

Magenta Panther

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
WDI today seems to think IP + tech is what makes for a compelling attraction, even if there's only one or two show stopping examples.

Staging, pacing, layout, set up and pay off etc have all been forgotten, as has designing rides to handle crowds. These were all lessons learned by WED and perfected by the late 1960s. Too bad that self-taught knowledge was thrown out with the second generation of Imagineers in the early to mid-2000s.

The new Imagineers seem to have a real problem with telling stories well. The Little Mermaid and the new Mouse ride are good examples of that. The former is tepid and lackluster and the latter is a loud jumble of effects that don't make much sense. It's not as bad as the desecration that is the Mission Breakout mess in Disneyland, but I bet most of the guests that ride Mouse haven't the foggiest idea what's going on, beyond the train breaking up and rejoining at the end. Yeesh.
 

ppete1975

Well-Known Member
disney keeps wanting to innovate and do new things.. which in theory is great. But it has come at the expense of reliability, capacity and length of ride. Its like they say, we can wow them with stuff they have never seen in a 2 minute ride or lets try all new technology. I still say ROR could have been done much easier and they tried to be too technical and complex. (get the same exact effect with 5 steps instead of 20) they over think things basically., bob gurr explains it much better. I think we could get a simple long boat ride, or omnimover (high capacity long ride time) and just be surrounded by amazing special effects and animatronics. If done right it would be reliable, eat tons of people and stun, we dont need all new ride tech.
Instead when we get omnimovers they are lazy (story telling and not fully immersing you due to lack luster AA, effects and non finished scenes) and boat rides that have no story and maybe one amazing AA on a really short ride (Pandora).

We discuss figment often... imagine redoing the original track and doing all the maint on the ride vehicles so they ran like new.. then gutting the ride and adding dream finders ship and figment with AA's we know they can make, and make an all new ride where AAs and screens take you into another world where you forget you are in a park. That is doable and would eat tons of people, be reliable, and hugely popular. In theory should be fairly inexpensive but would be the talk of the theme park industry and actually have a wait time again. And best of all no need for a boarding group
 

Inspired Figment

Well-Known Member
disney keeps wanting to innovate and do new things.. which in theory is great. But it has come at the expense of reliability, capacity and length of ride. Its like they say, we can wow them with stuff they have never seen in a 2 minute ride or lets try all new technology. I still say ROR could have been done much easier and they tried to be too technical and complex. (get the same exact effect with 5 steps instead of 20) they over think things basically., bob gurr explains it much better. I think we could get a simple long boat ride, or omnimover (high capacity long ride time) and just be surrounded by amazing special effects and animatronics. If done right it would be reliable, eat tons of people and stun, we dont need all new ride tech.
Instead when we get omnimovers they are lazy (story telling and not fully immersing you due to lack luster AA, effects and non finished scenes) and boat rides that have no story and maybe one amazing AA on a really short ride (Pandora).

We discuss figment often... imagine redoing the original track and doing all the maint on the ride vehicles so they ran like new.. then gutting the ride and adding dream finders ship and figment with AA's we know they can make, and make an all new ride where AAs and screens take you into another world where you forget you are in a park. That is doable and would eat tons of people, be reliable, and hugely popular. In theory should be fairly inexpensive but would be the talk of the theme park industry and actually have a wait time again. And best of all no need for a boarding group
I agree with the majority of this post. Though my thing with Journey Into Imagination is. I say it should simply be the ‘original’ ride with updated tech & spfx and the like in there. That and less dependent on screens & moreso on physical sets, projection mapping, and updated/improved Dreamfinder & Figment AAs, modern ride control tech that’s far more reliable than the ‘82/83 tech it used originally, aswell as the addition of things cut from the ride during its production due to budget & tech limitations added in.
 
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ppete1975

Well-Known Member
I agree with the majority of this post. Though my thing with Journey Into Imagination is. I say it should simply be the ‘original’ ride with updated tech & spfx and the like in there. That and less dependent on screens & moreso on physical sets, projection mapping, and updated/improved AAs, modern ride control tech, aswell as the addition of things cut from the ride during its production due to budget & tech limitations added in.
im not talking universal screens.. although i do like the mosasaurus and the leaking glass at universals JW ride. There are some things that cant be done only with AA (and please no 3d) but i think you could have 90% practical and overlay some scenes with a few screens to give you a 180 envelopment ..... or give me the rainbow tunnel and speed through it. What i dont want is ROR ride vehicles. It needs to be high capacity, and mckey rat and ROR are great in technology but at the end of the day we need rides where the scenery and story is immersive and impressive.. not the ride vehicle. When you are on pirates do you really care you are in a boat? Space ship earth does the ride vehicle matter? Doom bugges have become part of the charm of HM but if it was a different ride system would we care? If you are immersed the ride vehicle doesnt matter... (outside of roller coasters but thats because you want a roller coaster)
 

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